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5 Ways to Make A Long Distance Holiday Feel Like Home

Living Life Creatively, Thoughts, HolidaysCait SherrickComment

While I talk about the military a lot in this post, everything I mention can be applied to ANY situation in which you can’t make it home for the holidays. Take whatever you’d like from it.

When you’re in or married into the military, you can’t go home to your family for every holiday, every year.  Boat schedules, duty days, expensive tickets, etc. – they sometimes don’t all line up perfectly to make that trip possible.  While you might not be with ALL of the people you love, you’re with at least one person you love...usually, unless they’re deployed. If (s)he’s deployed this year, and you’re totally alone, GO HOME.  Pay for the plane tickets and just make it happen.  You won’t regret spending the extra money. I did this myself just last year, and it was totally worth it.

1 // Bring a tradition or two with you.
It’s a tradition in my family to make our pies the day before the big day. As kids, we’d always see who could get the longest apple peel. As adults, my husband and I still play this game. In his family, his Great-Grandma makes peanut butter balls, and he literally can’t live without them. Now, we not only make our own, but we also get our own batch of the real, grandma ones in the mail. When it’s all said and done, we recap these stories to our parents, and it makes for a lot of smiles and great conversation.

2 // Start a new tradition with the people around you.
One of our first traditions as a married couple was to go to the local drive-through Christmas lights festival that syncs up with the radio station. If one doesn’t exist, we drive around neighborhoods on the hunt for light displays. We get hot chocolate, cozy up, sing along and feel like kids with every Christmas light display we see. Every time we move, we literally find and follow new lights. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that one of our first traditions was about finding lights.  We’re in the military, we ALWAYS have to find the light in the dark moments.  We really don’t have a choice.

3 // Invite other transplants over.
Feeding our friends who also couldn’t make it home for the holidays is sort of our way of giving back.  It's extra special when you're in the military because all of us transplants are transplants simply because we're in the military.  No one should have to spend the holidays alone, especially when you're someone who gave up your normal holiday season to actively keep us all free to celebrate our holidays in the first place.

5 // Feel the magic of these moments.
The twinkling lights, the smell of cinnamon, your surprise presents…this time of year really is magical, no matter the circumstances. You just have to relax, let go of the everyday crazy and believe in the magic. It will change you for the better, if you let it. In the words of The Santa Clause’s Judy the Elf: “Seeing isn't believing.  Believing is seeing.”  One of the first things we learn as a kid is that faith in the things you can’t see is the most important and the most magical kind of faith.  Somewhere along the way, one bad day makes us lose that faith and the ability to see and feel the magic (not just during this time of the year, but all year), but that magic never really goes away. It sits in our hearts patiently waiting for us to feel it again.  And when we finally do, we feel more at home than we have in years.

Happy Holidays, my love.

Love, Light + Warm Cups of Chai Tea,

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So long, Jacksonville

Spiritual Practice, ThoughtsCait SherrickComment

So long, Jacksonville, FL. I can't say that I'll miss it, but I can definitely say that I'm so glad I got to live there. I spent 90% of my time there alone. Legit alone...my husband was deployed and I had no friends or family anywhere nearby. When you're the only person you have to physically talk to, you learn a lot about yourself. I had to either embrace it or curl up in a ball and cry for a year. Embrace it, I did. I've never been one to avoid the hard stuff, and this past year was no different.

Don't get me wrong, I cried. A lot. I called home, binge watched netflix, and even frequented the Super Target (best store ever, by the way. I had only ever seen a regular one before Jacksonville.) But I also had nothing but time to work on myself, create my own happiness, heal old wounds and get real help in healing my belly. Oh, and I started a business. Go big or go home, as they say.

I'm definitely not the woman I was a year ago, and I'm ok with that. I have more clarity about what I want in life, and I'm not afraid to ask for it. I'm more evolved in how i handle relationships, I don't even know what worrying is, and I've learned how to successfully say no.

I came out on top of this year of solitude, so thank you so much for being my friend, Jacksonville. Thank you for your palm trees and your Super Targets, but most importantly, thank you for your central air conditioning, because honestly, you're too darn hot for me, and I can't wait for cloudy, chilly Washington.

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Thoughts, Living Life CreativelyCait SherrickComment

Home wasn't a set house, or a single town on a map. It was wherever the people who loved you were, whenever you were together. Not a place, but a moment, and then another, building on each other like bricks to create a solid shelter that you take with you for your entire life, wherever you may go. // Sarah Dessen, What Happened to Goodbye

As a military family, it's heart-breaking to always be far from the people you love. Always coming and going, always saying goodbye, always leaving in one way or another. Monday we left one home to return to another, where we'll prepare to move across the country to a brand new one. As I held back tears while moving through airport security, I had to remind myself of how incredibly lucky we are to have so many homes in so many places.

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